DOI: 10.1111/sltb.13071 ISSN: 0363-0234

Association of handgrip strength with suicidal ideation among adults aged ≥50 years from low‐ and middle‐income countries

Lee Smith, Guillermo F. López Sánchez, Pinar Soysal, Nicola Veronese, Poppy Gibson, Damiano Pizzol, Louis Jacob, Laurie Butler, Yvonne Barnett, Hans Oh, Jae Il Shin, Ai Koyanagi
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Clinical Psychology



This study aimed to investigate the association between handgrip strength and suicidal ideation in representative samples of adults aged ≥50 years from six LMICs (China, Ghana, India, Mexico, Russia, and South Africa).


Cross‐sectional, community‐based data from the World Health Organization's Study on Global Aging and Adult Health were analyzed. Handgrip strength quintiles by sex were created based on the average value of two handgrip measurements of the dominant hand. Self‐reported information on past 12‐month suicidal ideation was collected. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was conducted to assess associations.


Data on 34,129 individuals were analyzed [mean (SD) age 62.4 (16.0) years; age range 50–114 years; 52.1% females]. After adjustment for potential confounders, in the overall sample, compared to the handgrip strength quintile with the highest values [Quintile 1 (Q1)], Q2, Q3, Q4, and Q5 were associated with significant 2.15 (95% CI = 1.05–4.39), 2.78 (95% CI = 1.06–7.32), 3.53 (95% CI = 1.68–7.42), and 6.79 (95% CI = 2.80–16.48) times higher odds for suicidal ideation.


Lower handgrip strength was significantly and dose‐dependently associated with higher odds for suicidal ideation in adults aged ≥50 years from LMICs. Future longitudinal studies are needed to understand the underlying mechanisms, and whether increasing general muscular strength and physical function may lead to reduction in suicidal ideation.

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